30 September 2006

Always tryin' to look hard...

I just got back in my house from running to the store and I have a question.

"Why in the Hell do so many young Black males try so hard to look angry and scary all the damn time?"

As I was turning onto the main street in my area I see an approaching car with right-of-way, so I let it pass. As it gets closer I see that there are four young Black men (in their mid-twenties) inside. The windows are down and two of them are looking in my general direction. I throw a nod to them [the way some of us guys say, 'hello'] and I notice that they are looking right at me scowling - their faces are tight and twisted like they're ready to fight me! I see this caveman-like behavior all too frequently from young Black males.

I just want to know why? I mean why, do these young males want to look so hard; like they are ready to fight to the death at a moments notice? Like no one in the WORLD is supposed to look in their direction? Is that supposed look manly? Look tough? It doesn't - it looks stupid, anti-social, and primative - it looks like these fools have no proper upbringing and no common decency!

Let me just go ahead and put it all out there since this is my damn blog - White Americans [for the most part] don't look at Black people as intellectual equals. Many whites believe that Blacks are just not as smart as them. Even the ones that act nice and friendly and sweet - deep down believe that they are smarter than 99.9% of Black people. This is a challange that I always try to stand posed for. Whenever I feel that my intellect is being challenged because of the color of my skin - I step up! I step up with knowledge learned from books, from lectures, from school, from friends, from family and from life - and I put those who doubt me in their place. And I don't do it just for me, I do it for all Black people, I do it to put anyone who doubts us,on their heels! This is the fight I prepare for.

The guys I saw in the car today are the same kind of guys that are probably looking for any reason to physically fight somebody. Step on their tennis shoes - they fight you! Accidentally brush into them coming into a store - they fight you! Look at them too long to figure out why they're looking at you - they fight you! They had their hats on sideways, a couple of them had all these damn dreads or twists or whatever-the-hell you call them shooting all over the damn place and they're all frowned up scowling at ME! And I'm just like... WHY? Why all the f*cking anger? Why all the frowning and anti-social demeanor?

I understand that young Brother's want to feel manly, but damn-it - I hate the fact that they come across so damn inhuman about it. Like they want to look so damn scary that nobody is brave enough to great them with a simple, common, courteous - Hello. I believe it is this quasi-hard street mentality that leads to so much violence between young Black males. They spend so much time trying to look and act anti-social that they don't develop true social skills.

Now I'm the one scowling...

TTBM

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are trying to say, but I think this is just a misunderstanding in yours and their part. How many people say 'hello' to each other in cars? I just drive. If it had been four white males in the car and they did the same thing, would you be generalizing all young white males as acting tough? Lets cut the generalizing BS.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Listen ANONYMOUS - try dropping your name the next time you have ADVICE for me.

Am I generalizing? No, I'm a Black man living in a Black community and I know a think or two about Black males. And I know that their future success in a largely WHITE dominated society is going to require that many of these young Black males drop this primative, thug driven, hard-ass attitude of theirs unless they plan on dropping fries, rappin' and hustlin'for a living! I want the young Black males that think scowling and acting like thugs is the way to be men! I want them to stop acting like bad-asses and start getting their sh*t together so they can start creating a strong economic and intellectual base for the next generation of Blacks!

And had I seen a carload of White kids, I probably would have been less inclined to speak to them, initially. I make it a person point to acknowledge young Black males, simply because they are young Brothers! And had I choosen to speak to white guys that did the same thing - yeah, I would have written them off as assholes - the only difference between typical white guys acting like thugs and Black guys acting like thugs is - the white guys will usually have mommy and daddy putting them through college so that they can one day hire the Black guys to mop their floors! With statistics just released yesterday showing a drop in Black college enrollment, I feel my point is validated.

And ANONYMOUS since you want to be a d*ck with your snotty advice. Don't come back to my blog!

The Thinking Black Man said...

And another thing - ANONYMOUS!
You may not speak to people in your car, but if I am stopped next to someone, or someone passes me and makes eye contact, I speak.

But if you read my blog and read it with an intellect - you will see that I am not talking about ALL black males! Do you think that I am some kind of asshole? I'm not!

For you to have the balls to tell me to cut the 'generalizing BS' and not have the heart to not leave your name or blog address, it really says a lot about your character... or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Touchy touchy aren't we? So what, they scowled at you. Maybe they were having a bad day. Do you expect everyone to smile at you like a queer? And how exactly do you know they weren't in college/have a job? BTW, my name is Aaron.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Well, hello there, Aaron-

I'm not going much further with you on this, because you are obviously one of these people that can't see the forest for the trees.

You are focused only on my issue with the guys in the car - Jesus Christ man, open your eyes and notice a lot of the young brothers around you! I said a LOT not ALL, BTW - you will see this phenomenon is very common with young Black guys. It is sad and disheartening - despite how much you sugar coat it. Just look around you, this is if you live near large numbers of young inner city Black males.

And, I don't know that they weren't in college, and I hope that they do have jobs. Personally I want for young Black males to have better than just a "job"... dropping fries at Burger King is a "job", but I hope for young Black men to develop the skills and the demeanor to get and hold jobs that will build true wealth. The issue isn't wether or not the guys in the car are in school - the issue is that large numbers of inner city young black males 18 to 25 display angry, careless and sometimes anti-social behavior, and having these skills in a positive capacity is very often crucial to professional and social success.

Developing the skills and decency to great a person with a handshake or a hello, or a pleasant nod can go a damn site further to making this entire world a better place, than a frown and a scowl can!

If you can't see that, then I pity you - Aaron.

tickledpinkies said...

Aww don't worry about Ann. Its obviously true for a good percentage of young Black men these days. When talking to guys in those types of surroundings I have found that they tell me their name is the most precious thing to them.

To lose face is to be a p***y. I think theres at least hundreds of thousand young (and some older) Black guys who spend their life trying not to be labelled p***ies.
Similar with some younger girls its not like sisterly thing anymore they just out and out stare with distaste. Its all this Blackness bulls**t. This Blackness measuring stick has always been about in one shape or form. As I read in a absolutely brill book a few days ago around the Afro era if someone chose to straigten, perm their hair they were berated as not Black enough.
Now its like if you get to the top of the class, If you smile at people or even if you dont shoot this guy you aint Black enough.

It seems like some people worship Blackness like god and Ive come to the realization that "Blackness" as a externalised concept was utilized as a form of protection from incoming attack. I feel possibly that many Black people subconsiously fear iminent danger that Whites may take us over again. Having a measure of how Black others are declares who we can trust.

Someone who has tools to "crossover" can be seen as unloyal. The reason why I have seen smart Black boys deliberately fail tests to stay in lower classes.
(OFF TOPIC ALERT!!!)

Getting back to the topic I have seen this kind of behaviour where I live. The things Black guys ask other Black guys to do or act like to soother THEIR insecurity of White superiority are getting more and more negative.
Even the Black guys at my college are doin the bad boy thing.
And a note: If I hear another one of these guys are taking sport as their education I'll effing scream :S I see a lot of Black guys among the college but funnily I have none in any of my A-level classes, Im the only black person. Same with Black and biracial girls taking hair and beauty at college aaaggghh!!

Oface said...

1. I'm a black male
2. I don't see this anger at all. Maybe their having a bad day or maybe their in severe pain.
3. I'm not dawging you but I feel that its a little absurd that in 2006 you feel that its necessary to try and impress and manipulate what white folks think about you. As long as the evening news only shows Black males commiting crime and as long as we continue to support unequal education system, their perceptions will never change.
A) Rap videos/music is unfortunately become the only source of contact for whites in regard to black community.
B) White folks are always gonna be dismissive of your intelligence and abilities. Maybe instead of feeling that you need to impress them that you belong, maybe you should embrace entrepeneurship and create your own place in the world.
C) Have you been to Brazil, Egypt, Palenstine or any other 3rd world culture that has a huge poor and underserved population???? You should go because they don't smile at each other, especially in Iraq..........

Anonymous said...

TTBM,

I hear you, and I'm with you on this.

I tend to think that one of the largest problems in our community is that many, many, many, of our young men aren't being taught what it is to be a man. With the frequent absence of an appropriate role0model, many young people, in this case, men, adapt some sort of tough-guy pose because they don't knwo any better.

Mind you, what I am saying doesn't absolve anyone of acting the ass when someone acknowledges them in the street.

Tickled Pinkies,

I like the way you think.

Evia said...

I tend to think that one of the largest problems in our community is that many, many, many, of our young men aren't being taught what it is to be a man. With the frequent absence of an appropriate role0model, many young people, in this case, men, adapt some sort of tough-guy pose because they don't knwo any better.

Gunfighter, Great point. I agree with you and TBM.

This is kind of mindboggling to some females that some males seem to have to TRY so hard to ACT like men. I can't say I really understand this, but I see this occurring around me too and I realize it's rooted in AA history. For many females, we just know how to be women (due to the ever-present women role models) or even if we don't, I don't ever hear it being discussed that women are TRYing to "act" soft? or whatever to act more like like women. That's so stressful--always acting and being something other than who you are.

That scowling behavior comes off as being like you said, TBM--angry, threatening, unfriendly, etc. So what's the point of coming across that way unless you're actually benefitting from it? Why turn people off or make enemies for no reason? When I see some of those guys, I realize they're just scared little boys inside.

TBM, I have to say I disagree with the part about concern about what white people think. I think we each should just be the best we can be. I have never cared what white people or anyone thought about my intelligence, so I've never taught my children to be concerned with what white people think because I don't consider white people to be anything more than anyone else. I've just taught my children to conduct themselves properly and we've passed along values that will serve them well.

I think that the chief focus of black people should be on learning as much as they possibly can about as much as they can, and try to develop their potential. In other words, BE intelligent. The only definition of intelligence that counts, IMO, is that: intelligence = higher survivability. If your intelligence is not helping you to survive at a higher level or enhancing your ability to survive and thrive, it doesn't count as intelligence in my book and I don't care how high a person's IQ may be or how much education s/he may have. So, I believe this is how black people ought to define intelligence.

tickledpinkies said...

Tickled Pinkies,

I like the way you think.


Thanx :)

TTBM:
Going away for a week :P see ya later.
Sam xx

Anonymous said...

Sorry, oface, but this is not Iraq, Egypt or any other 3rd world country. This is a place where you be whatever you want to be. The blaming "whitey" game for our shortcomings is old, real old, and I'm sick of hearing it.

Sadly, TBD, I'm in more fear of my own people than any white man, and this sentiment is echoed throughout the black community. there are places in the area I just don't go anymore.

Had this been 40 years ago and that car were all whites, I would say your life may have been in danager then. Now, in 2006, those thugs, sadly your own people you mentioned, would probably not even think twice about taking your life. Strange how that works..

eab2 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Thinking Black Man said...

OFACE-

Just to touch your comments point by point.

1. I'm a black male
Welcome to the club.


2. I don't see this anger at all. Maybe their having a bad day or maybe their in severe pain.

I hope you're joking with this one. "Severe pain...?" Very funny!

3. I'm not dawging you but I feel that its a little absurd that in 2006 you feel that its necessary to try and impress and manipulate what white folks think about you. As long as the evening news only shows Black males commiting crime and as long as we continue to support unequal education system, their perceptions will never change.

I'm not trying to impress or manipulate white people - I am however, ALWAYS prepared to let them know that those hoodlums doing the perp walk on the 6 o'clock news are in the minority of our people. I owe no apologies to you or anyone for having my shit together at all times.


A) Rap videos/music is unfortunately become the only source of contact for whites in regard to black community.

Yes, this is sad. BET videos and the top of the evening news. It is a total shame. Personally, I encounter white people all the time professionally. Sadly, I find myself very often the only black person at meetings with 12, 15+ people. I always try to represent in these meeting!

B) White folks are always gonna be dismissive of your intelligence and abilities. Maybe instead of feeling that you need to impress them that you belong, maybe you should embrace entrepeneurship and create your own place in the world.


I'm not sure where in the hell THAT comment came from. I don't set out to try and impress them! I just make sure they know that there are Black folks out there with the stuff together! I REALLY don't know WHAT blog you were reading to make you leave this comment - but I don't try to show white people I belong, where the fuck did that come from? And, if I did start my own business - would YOU actually come into a Black owned company to utilize my company?

C) Have you been to Brazil, Egypt, Palenstine or any other 3rd world culture that has a huge poor and underserved population???? You should go because they don't smile at each other, especially in Iraq..........

What the heck does this have to do with anything? I'm talking about Brothers in DC and Maryland what does Iraq have to do with this? And as far as the whole "poor" thing goes, lets not overplay that hand - because the vast majority of the Brothers I see scowling at folks are sportin' $150 Timbs, $80 throw-backs, $40 caps, $120 sneakers, and Lord knows how much bling - so, lets not wave the poverty flag if we don't have to!

Oface said...

Sorry, oface, but this is not Iraq, Egypt or any other 3rd world country. This is a place where you be whatever you want to be. The blaming "whitey" game for our shortcomings is old, real old, and I'm sick of hearing it.
***************************************************************************
Bill Cosby???? You are uninformed my friend and you need to do some research on Afro-American history and how it corresponds with capitalism,, and education. No where did I blame Whites for all of African-Americans short comings.....

'm not sure where in the hell THAT comment came from. I don't set out to try and impress them! I just make sure they know that there are Black folks out there with the stuff together! I REALLY don't know WHAT blog you were reading to make you leave this comment - but I don't try to show white people I belong, where the fuck did that come from? And, if I did start my own business - would YOU actually come into a Black owned company to utilize my company?
************************************************************************************
Actually I read your blog and you did infer that you go out of your way to impress. Maybe you should read your post again. Yes I would go into black owned company to do business if the services and products justify the expense. Indians/Asians don't seem to have a problem getting business, why should blacks???????
************************************************************************************
What the heck does this have to do with anything? I'm talking about Brothers in DC and Maryland what does Iraq have to do with this? And as far as the whole "poor" thing goes, lets not overplay that hand - because the vast majority of the Brothers I see scowling at folks are sportin' $150 Timbs, $80 throw-backs, $40 caps, $120 sneakers, and Lord knows how much bling - so, lets not wave the poverty flag if we don't have to!
************************************************************************************
I've traveled to alot of 3rd world nations and the vast majority of the populations don't "SMILE" or "Show Teeth" in general. Asia/Africa/Carribean/South America/Central Europe all tended to be the poor and uneducated....My reply to your post is that economics may determine whose "Smiling" and whose not rather than race.........
************************************************************************************
I see scowling at folks are sportin' $150 Timbs, $80 throw-backs, $40 caps, $120 sneakers, and Lord knows how much bling - so, lets not wave the poverty flag if we don't have to!
***************************************************************************************
That is a sign of poverty....A poor mind....Thats 300 bucks that should be invested....Thats my point....

The Thinking Black Man said...

Oface-

Thanks for the passion! Even when folks don't agree with me and choose to be passionate in their defense of their point I have too give them props - my agreement or disagreement aside.

The only counterpoint I'm going to make is the poverty issue...

Your original comment about going to 3rd world countries... CLEARLY to me you appear to be talking about physical economic poverty - that's what I was addressing.

But I agree 100% with you on the "poor mind" approach. These guys can dish their cash out in thick wads to "Sports Authority" and "Champs" and "Footlocker" and countless jewelery shops!

Please do me the honor of clicking on the December 2005 ARCHIVE link and read my post on "Black Wealth" and leave me your thoughts. Thanks!

mmafan said...

Oface..I'm merely TRYING to addrees a point you made. No, I am not Bill Cosby, but I do have my own thoughts and I have the right, like you to express my opinion on certain issues.

BTW, I DO agree with what a lot that Cosby said. I'll say MYSELF that we as a people need to get our stuff together, and in a mad way, or we will be left behind by others who were not even born here.

Why you feel the need to be hostile and disagree in a uncivil and manner, eludes me. Whether you agree with me or not, is ok with me, but why the need for the hate? This a perfect example of why we as a people can't get along most of the time.

I would definitley support a black owned business, but if the owner has an attitude such as yours, I'll take my money elsewhere.

BTW, I'm no longer anonymous, TTBM..I hope you will allow me to stay. Yeah..Like I said in another post..I may not feel you on all issues, but I can do it in a civil way.

Anonymous said...

The scowl is a survival mechanism, wars are won before they are fought, and intimidation is often a decisive tool in battle. What battle you may say? The one versus the establishment: Black man versus “the man” part 439, black man versus “the environment” part .44, and of course the black man versus black man for life. Why not smile? There is too much to lose. Not sure there is much to smile about either. Profile the black family. Divorce (or not marrying at all) usually leads to instability, which leads to lower socioeconomic status, which usually undermines our abilities to acquire further developmental tools such as traveling outside of Anacostia, Hyattsville, Rt. 1, etc. and gaining exposure to cultures, lifestyles, even destinies outside of the ones we’re taught. As if the scales weren’t already tilted.

What are we taught? That becoming successful in a corporate sense is a form of selling-out, therefore it must be less “black”. The other option(s), becoming a sort of street opportunist, maybe legal, and maybe not, but highly respected thus earning the coveted “street cred” desired. Real life example? Jeezy is much more respected than Diddy. I don’t make the rules, I’m just using them. Hence, the “grit/grill” becomes part of your daily dressing ritual. And everyone wears a mask in public.

In the corporate world, your reputation is everything. In the streets, your reputation is everything. In the corporate world, you wear a button-down and a poker smile. In the streets, you wear timbs/ones and a “grit/grill”. Simply a tool. And we all know that any tool can become a weapon. We also know that any weapon is only reliable as its user, thus the weapon can be reversed and used against the initiator. In this case the “grit/grill” is used against us by those from a different world--a much more peaceful world, or at least a much less Darwinian world--to keep us out. So they don’t respect us as intelligent, but they fear us. And the affects of fear linger longer than respect.

Try it…you’ll like it.

-written by a reformed and assimilated corporate thug, refined outside/raw inside (you know, the real danger)

K-Dad said...

Just found your blog today. The comments have stirred me enough to write. I am a black man in my early 50's. Grew up on Maryland Avenue in DC and had to struggle to break free of the negative influences. I have a career, not just a job, and see very few professional young black men. Your observation is on the mark, I am also frequently the only black male at professional conferences and agree that there are so few of us because of this BLACK attitude thing. The mentality is you have to look and act a certain way to be black. I see far too many young brothers trying to fit the thug, hip-hop, rap stereotype. When riding on the subway I am embarressed by all the loud, foul, language and whorish attire of young black folks. Looking and speaking eloquently and acting civilized have nothing to do with trying to impress or emulate the white man. It has to do with looking and acting like SUCCESSFUL people and having self respect. Young Black folks need to wake up and realize that a college level education is needed to compete in the global economy. Live beyond the hood! One of your responses mentioned being the owner of their own business but it is impossible to obtain the entrepreneurial skills if all you have taught yourself to do is look thuggish, get tats, wear grills, cuss, and rap. Sadly many believe selling drugs makes them a businessman. I will stop now because I am probably preaching to the choir, most of the folks I am talking about are not likely to read.